As restrictions vary, we need to check in with one another for our physical and mental wellbeing, especially those who are vulnerable, physical distancing, fearful or can't yet leave their homes 

Here at Eden Project Communities we prefer 'physical distancing' to 'social distancing' - connection is incredibly important for all ages, and there are still lots of ways we can connect with others, without putting them or ourselves at risk.

Lots of people have set up local groups to keep neighbours connected, from street level WhatsApp groups to larger town or district wide groups using online platforms. Small, hyper local groups - a street, group of flats or small neighbourhood - help to create trusted connections more quickly. This is especially important for older or vulnerable people who may not be able or willing to ask for help online in a big group.

If you can, post a card through neighbours' doors offering help - from picking up food shopping to dog walking, this is a great way to reach out to your neighbours.

Here's a neighbourhood card you can use or you can create your own.  Please ensure you have washed your hands and keep a safe distance from any neighbours you are supporting.

Check out Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK for a map of neighbourly groups across the UK. See if there is already one set up near you, your local council might also have a list of what's happening in your area. If there isn't a group you could set up your own, there are lots of top tips and resources to help you.

Nextdoor have launched a new feature to help neighbours flag when they need help, and you can also join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme too connect with your neighbours or sign up on to receive messages on crime prevention advice and community support. 

Want to connect to others who are active in their communities? The Eden Project Communities Network is a place for like-minded people to connect, share, learn and support.

Be a positive part of your local community conversations and activities.

Use technology and digital platforms to stay connected. Whilst it might not be quite the same as seeing friends in person, you don’t need to miss catching up and having fun, digital platforms offer pretty close alternatives for now. 

No need to stop your social life - use online video platforms like Zoom or FaceTime  to have virtual mealtimes, drinks with friends or play online games.

Exercise your brain cells with Gooses Quizzes - Free online quiz each night 7pm  - Video chatting app with games.

Set up a film night or Netflix Party - watch the same thing at the same time with friends or family.

Connect with others by joining the same online classes, from daily activities such as dance with Strictly's Oti Mabuse on Facebook to Maths with Carol Vorderman.

Meet for a cuppa with a friend or family member outside your bubble safely. The government recommends that you keep two metres away from people as a precaution or one metre when you can mitigate the risk by taking other precautions in this list. 

Most of our routines have turned upside down; no school, working from home or limited time with friends and loved ones. It means we need to be proactive to stay in touch with one another as we don’t find ourselves naturally mingling with neighbours, friends and colleagues.

Although many people are staying at home, not everyone will be online. Particularly with the constant stream of news and social media posts, some people may choose to use this time to unplug and connect with people (near and far) in more creative ways. Here are some ideas...

Government advice is changing all of the time, please only do what is safe to do. 

Try these positive writing, drawing and colouring templates for children from our partner, The Happy News to spread a little joy.

Create positive artwork for neighbours and passers by going to work or to get food as well as key workers such as posties. Place rainbows or posters in your windows or spread joy through pavement chalk drawings. Positive words or a fun picture might just brighten someone's day and give them the little boost they need at this uncertain time. Let your creative side out (or there's a rainbow template below if that makes it easier!)  

We're going on a bear hunt - ask your neighbours to put a teddy bear in their front windows or somewhere they can be seen from the road. Those out for and about can spot teddies as they go. You can also try with decorated eggs for a spin on an Easter egg hunt! Here are a few more lovely things you can do in your community.

There are lots of lovely ideas from partners too, check out Rural Coffee CaravanFun Palaces, and Patchwork #loveletters

Pick up the phone - particularly if people aren’t online. It’s a simple way to check-in and have a conversation. A short phone call can really brighten someone’s day, especially if they live alone or are vulnerable. Try setting up a phone tree for neighbours, friends or family to stay connected, we've created a template to make it easy.



Nature play list

Here is a little e-booklet from Eco Attractions, with exciting ways you can play and be creative whilst at home and stay connected with nature.